Wednesday, December 5, 2012

A Riddle-- Also Known as 'Stump the Vet'

Granite is sick.

Want to help try to solve the puzzle... or maybe just put bets on what the vet finds?

here is how it went down:

2 weeks ago, Monday the 19th. I hopped on bareback at dusk to get a short ride in after work before it got completely black (we don't have lights). We walked to the right and when I asked him to bend to the left he pinned his ears and tried to bite my foot (Granite doesnt do that). We repeated that twice before I jumped off and called it game-over. He was hurting. He got a new buddy in his pasture that day (not new to him or the farm, just to the pasture) and I had heard that they were all running around that day playing. I assumed maybe he had gotten kicked. No marks. Just sensitivity at the girth on the left side. We keep him in the stall overnight to monitor, just in case he is colicky.He came through just fine.

He got the next day off, I worked late.

Wednesday the 21st, repeat same situation. Dusk bareback ride, not happy with left leg pressure. Trainer was there to witness this and said "maybe ulcers." Still seemed to only have sensitivity to pressure on the left. His back felt fine. No reactions.

I monitored the situation the rest of that week and even managed to ride for 15min (just walk/trot) that weekend. He didn't like being girthed and was a bit irritated at upward transitions, but nothing violent or ill-willed.

The next week, I start to notice both sides getting a negative reaction when pressed. And now moving more toward the lower belly with little reaction near the girth.

Is it his sheath? Last winter he had very similar issues but with a good cleaning (we last cleaned in July), they resolved.

Cleaned his sheath and couldn't come to the barn the next day but I made it out Friday the 30th. He is OUCHY. All near his groin, flank, lower belly. He is eating, drinking, pooping, peeing, grazing, playing in the pasture normally (all along) but is very sensitive in the low belly.

Saturday (the 1st) I try the Maalox test for ulcers. No improvement. At. All. I monitor him for a few hours. Plays in the pasture, eats, does normal horsie things. Normal stool.

Sunday morning I get a call from the Barn Owner. G just isnt right. His eyes are dull. He is in pain. I call the on-call vet. Fortunately, its "our" vet at the practice. She asks for his temp. Its normal. I tell her about all the other normal things he is doing. She determines he can wait until Monday (my credit cards says thanks).

Monday the 3rd of December she does a thorough exam finding the pain in the places I do. She does a rectal exam, and oral exam, sedates and cleans sheath (finds nothing-- compliments me on doing a decent job myself). She determines that we will treat for ulcers with gastro guard and run blood panel and stool sample. After a few days we will reevaluate and possibly scope for ulcers.

Tuesday morning Blood work comes back perfect. No signs of infection. Electrolytes are good. No high white blood cell count. Other medical stuff I dont understand is all good. No sediment or worms in the stool... lovely. Continue treatment with gastroguard.

Tuesday evening I'm at a late meeting for work. I get a call that G is pacing and while he ate his grain, he wont touch his hay. I rush out and call the vet. We see him poop (its normal) and his temp is fine. We have no banamine on hand but she suggests bute for pain bc he doesn't have diarrhea. She decides that he needs to be scoped asap.

I dont have a trailer and my big horse won't fit in the barn owners (who just started her new job last week anyway). I can't get a ride for today (Wednesday). So, the vet says thats OK. I go pick up banamine. She says we will keep gastroguarding. He goes in for scope and (ultrasound maybe?) tomorrow (thursday the 6th) at 11:30. He hasn't loaded in a trailer in a long time and he can't eat before hand. So that and the fact that I have no idea how I'm going to pay for it is an entirely different world of worry.

But for now.... any bets on whats wrong with my horse. ANYONE had something similar. Pain is is only symptom. I'm at a loss. Maybe he ate something (there is a double-sided  latch missing from his stall door)?

Keep your fingers crossed for us. He is miserable. As of lunch today he had also not had any water since last night. That worries me too.


  1. I have no clue but I hope he gets better soon.

  2. This is scary. :( I'm racking my brain, and not coming up with anything other than ulcers either, but usually the Maalox test works really well to test for them. And, gastroguard works fairly quickly. That could mean they're bad...or it's not ulcers. I don't know which is preferable.

    I'll keep pondering and ask my boyfriend, who's a horse trainer. Thinking of you guys in the mean time.

    1. Test for Lyme disease maybe?
      It does sound ulcers that maybe need aggressive treatment but who knows. Poor guy! hope you get to the bottom of it.

  3. I feel your pain! My mare is going through something quite similar now, and has been for 2 months (she however still is running and playing normally). Vet did a lameness exam, we tried treating for ulcers, looked at her estrus cycling etc. etc. and to no avail. It's now been suggested to go to the equine hospital, but like you, we lack in a trailer. Has to be one of the most frustrating mysteries!

    Sending good vibes your way and hope that it all works out for the better.

  4. My bets are for ulcers or Lyme - there's a new blood test from Cornell that is much more accurate than the older test. My Pie was very ouchy/grouchy when he had active Lyme. Good luck and hope you get a clear answer and a good treatment plan for whatever it is.

  5. Hi. I often read your blog, but I have never commented. I am sorry to hear about your poor guy. My bet is hindgut ulcers. I know a mare with hindgut ulcers and she has symptoms similar to yours. The good news is that her owner was able to manage the ulcers and continue riding. However, she had to be aware of when the ulcers were bad and be sure to keep her leg pressure on the left side to a minimum.

    Good luck. I wish the best for you!

  6. Yikes! No good ideas here but I'm sorry Granite is sick. Prayers heading your way.

  7. Oh no - the worst nightmare is mystery illness. So sorry and I'm sending you and G warm, healthy vibes. Any changes to the hay at all? Maybe allergic to something in the pasture? Or maybe he ate that latch or something else and its slowly passing through? Scoping will tell. Best of luck to you both.

  8. Aye :( Sending healing prayers your way!! Sorry I am not any help.

  9. Just saw the diagnosis on FB, thank goodness, b/c otherwise I would worry along with you. So, too much play time? Kick? What caused it?

  10. Yep, Sounds like he got kicked or wiped out hard. I can totally see either scenario with that goof head. MUCH more believable than ulcers in that horse.